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Recycling Right ...

Date: 30-Mar-10

Aluminium cans © Amy Nancarrow

Thank you to the 480 Aware readers who took part in the survey!

The reassuring news is that the large majority of respondents recycle their household cans, cartons and bottles all the time.  Aluminium cans, soft drink bottles and plastic milk bottles rated particularly well, with over 93% of respondents recycling them all the time.

So what are the few lingering barriers that stop us recycling everything 100% of the time?  Four of the most common barriers - and our suggestions for overcoming them - are:

I’m not sure if it’s recyclable

Look up to find out if your council or another local operator will accept an item for recycling, or ring your council.

My recycling bin gets full so some recyclables end up in the regular bin

We understand that this can be a problem for large households!  It may help to make sure that all cartons are flattened, and cans are crushed where possible, to maximise space inside your recycling bin.

I don’t always recycle steel cans because they can be dirty and smelly.

Try giving dirty cans a quick rinse at the end of the washing up - they just need to be free of solids, not spotless! Taking them straight out to the recycling bin can keep unwanted smells out of the kitchen.

These little steps give a can another life - every steel can is 100% recyclable and making a can from recycled material uses 75% less energy than making it from new material.

Reader Tips

On the other hand, several people told us that they didn’t put their plastic or cardboard milk cartons in the recycling bin – because they recycled them as seedling containers or guards! It’s great to see creative ways to reuse and recycle around the home and garden.

What did most Aware readers get wrong?

Just under half of those who braved our quiz question at the end of the survey were correct – the main component of milk and juice carton is indeed cardboard, not plastic or foil. Cardboard makes up about 88% of a Tetra Pak 1 litre fresh milk carton. Most Australian councils collect cartons for recycling - check if yours does at

We'd love it if you had a few minutes this week to complete our Cartridge Recycling survey.
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